All in Buncombe county have access to nutritious food and are inspired to make choices and utilize skills that support a healthy life. Download Data Go Back

Percent of adults who consume 5+ servings of fruits/vegetables per day


Data Description & Source

Description: Data reflects the number of adults who consume 5 or more servings of vegetables per day by Buncombe.

Source: WNC Healthy Impact Regional Telephone Survey. The survey is conducted every three years, beginning in 2012, which provides county-level and comparable regional data for 16 counties in western North Carolina. The complete data set is available at

Story Behind the Curve

In Buncombe County, only 10.6% of adults consume 5 or more servings of vegetables a day. Buncombe County adults on average consume 9.3 servings of vegetables a week, which equates to only 1.3 servings a day, significantly lower that the recommended amount. For comparison, the graphic to the right shows average US intake of vegetables as well as the recommended intake ranges (click image for more information). Proper nutrition has significant impact chronic disease prevention. Further focus on increasing food security is needed to reduce Buncombe county prevalence of obesity (23%) and diabetes (7.3%).

According a report from the the Appalachian Foodshed Project, healthy food availability is not a problem, but rather access to available healthy food is. Systemic poverty and inequity produces significant barriers to accessing healthy food. Current subsidized food programs are not sufficient to meet need and increasingly community members rely upon the emergency food system on a regular basis. Difficulty in accessing food is primarily impacted by affordability and transportation but also impacted by knowledge gaps about how to shop for and prepare healthy food.

Community gardens, city markets and other programs are currently working to increase accessibility to fruits and vegetables. Asheville city markets are now capable of accepting SNAP benefits and community gardens actively donate food to the foodbank. Programs like FEAST Asheville and the Cooperative Extension are working to teach individuals about engaging in healthy nutritional choices.

What Works

These strategies are already being implemented in our community:

SNAP $ at Farmers' Markets: This evidence-based practice works by implementing mechanisms for SNAP recipients to use their benefits at Farmers' Markets. Specifically in Buncombe County, Buncombe County Health and Human Services worked with farmers’ markets to expand payment options to Food Nutrition Services recipients. Implementing EBT in farmers’ markets started as an initiative of the US Department of Agriculture and has been a successful project in Buncombe County. Expanding the payment option is not only beneficial to EBT recipients; it’s also good for the local economy. Improving the income of local farm vendors ensures that they can continue to reinvest in growing fresh, organic produce and can help them expand their growing capacity. By providing the options for individuals to select local fresh fruits and vegetables, we can reduce health problems and health disparities. Learn more at ASAP.

5-2-1-Almost None: A message campaign that provides a consistent way to talk about healthy habits and healthy places that support healthy weight children and families. The message, logo, and the tools and information are free and available for use by any individual or group with an interest in promoting healthy living.

Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative: Intervention designed to implement hospital policies and procedures that support optimal breastfeeding practices.

A New Leaf/WISEWOMAN: Structured assessment and counseling tool that emphasizes practical strategies for making changes in dietary and physical activity behaviors.

Rainbow in My Tummy: Rainbow In My Tummy is a nutrition program created by Verner/ The program was created by early care and education professionals for early care and education professionals and provides the vision, training, tools, coaching, and resources needed to change the food culture surrounding young children. The program is a proven model of success as it is currently implemented in 14 centers in Buncombe County. It is an example of an evidence based program like the Kindergarten Initiative which is an integrated, holistic approach to educating children about food and how it grows. Lessons integrating nutrition and healthy habits were developed to fit Pennsylvania educational standards; however, they can be adapted to meet the educational standards for other states. Learning how food grows and who grows it in combination with frequent food tastings may help increase fruit and vegetable consumption among young children.

YES! (Youth Empowered Solutions): Youth staff have been working locally to provide training and support to enable more convenience stores to transition to Healthy Corner Stores. To date their success includes a single store; however, they have been engaged in advocacy work at the state level around fresh food financing that was instrumental in a policy being passed to enable financing to assist in corner store transition. While the legislation passed in 2015, associated funding did not. (may be in this year's budget)

Financing Fresh Food: Fresh Food Financing Initiative is a state-level policy designed to increase access to affordable, quality, healthful foods in underserved areas by providing critical, one-time loans and grants for the development, expansion or renovation of fresh food retail establishments, such as supermarkets or grocery stores. Eligible communities are defined as low- or moderate-income census tracts, areas of below-average supermarket density, areas with a supermarket customer base where the majority live in a low-income census tract or in other areas demonstrated to have significant access limitations to supermarkets due to travel distance.

Healthy Corner Stores Education and Policy: This intervention is designed to increase the availability, accessibility, awareness and attractiveness of fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods in corner stores by supporting changes in corner stores’ practices. The program addresses multiple levels of the socio-ecologic model with a primary focus on changing the organizational level. The Healthy Corner Store Initiative increases access to fresh fruits and vegetables in corner stores by linking small stores with produce distributors on a year-round basis. The policy established new minimum stock requirements for retail stores authorized for the WIC Program.

Buncombe County Pop-Up Markets and Community Service Navigators: These markets run bi-weekly in the community centers of local housing communities in Buncombe County. They rely on “just-in-time” food donations from MANNA FoodBank which often includes the healthy but perishable fruits, vegetables and bakery items that many local food pantries are not equipped to accept because they require immediate distribution. At each site, neighbors who qualify for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) come to “shop” for groceries in a colorful, farmers’ market style setting, choosing their food items while catching up with friends and neighbors. View video here.

These strategies have worked in other communities:

Strategies to address behavior change include education on cooking skills, gardening skills, nutrition, individual counseling, and social support for healthy eating.

Eat Well, Play Hard: A multi-component intervention that focuses on improving the nutrition and physical activity behaviors of pre-school age children and their parents/caregivers by using educational strategies and skill building activities to promote healthy behavior change.

Strategies to address systemic and environmental change include change access and availability:

Oregon Farm to School/School Garden: Each farm to school and school garden program in Oregon is unique. Designed to increase access to and consumption of locally grown foods. They also seek to improve knowledge of and attitudes toward eating a variety of locally grown foods through a) local procurement, b) promotion of local foods and their producers, and c) food, nutrition, and garden-based educational experiences.

For more information visit the Center for Training and Research Translation or see Food Access Policy and Planning Guide

Action Plan

This is an additional indicator that the group has identified to monitor. Please see the insecurity indicator for a detailed action plan.

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